Senate Briefs: October 13

October 13, 2009

Numbers and Stuff

At roughly 5:03 p.m., Senior Class President Calvin Kagan ’10 entered the senate and shouted, “Wintaye, did you change your number?” Junior Class President Wintaye Gebru ’11 said, “Yup.” Kagan responded, “I should have been the first person you told.” Kagan then asked for her new number. Gebru said she had forgotten her phone. Kagan said he would call her, you know, or something. Gebru said “Don’t call me, I’ll call you.” Meanwhile, ASPC President Jed Cullen ’10 and his milkshake called the meeting to order at 5:10 p.m.

Rock the Vote…or Don’t

After scanning the minutes (i.e., shuffling papers, checking text messages and staring blankly for about 117 seconds), the senators gave the floor to Elections Commissioner Paulette Barros ’11. Barros said she would like to relay a few of the problems about which she had been e-mailed regarding the election. Some had e-mailed her because they were confused about how they should vote when a candidate runs unopposed; others had asked if they could begin campaigning a week earlier; others expressed confusion over the ballots (hanging chads, pregnant chads, a butterfly configuration—the whole nine yards). Cullen asked if there had been any concerns about the write-in system. Barros said, “Nope.” Cullen then said this had generated significant difficulty in counting the votes, as write-ins had prevented either of the two candidates for sophomore class president from receiving a majority. He also said he was uncertain whether or not to count write-in votes for Megatron. Commissioner of Academic Affairs Scott Levy ’10 then proposed allowing candidates to campaign before sign-ups had been finalized. Cullen said this could be problematic if a candidate changed his or her mind. Levy countered that it might encourage more candidates to run, but concluded, “I don’t know why I’m making an issue out of this, I don’t really care.”

Student-Trustee Retreat a Smash Hit

Dean of Students Miriam Feldblum then arrived to offer feedback from the trustees about the student-trustee retreat and to gather the students’ feedback. Feldblum said the trustees could not decide whether the retreat was “one of the better,” “one of the best,” or “the best” retreat of all time. Their main input was that in the future they would like to clarify the roles of the trustees to the students prior to the retreat. Kagan and Commissioner of Campus Community Relations Kim Hartung ’10 took about five minutes each to say, in essence, “Yup.” Feldblum then asked the senators, most of whom had attended the retreat, if they felt it had been constructive. Cullen and Commissioner of Clubs and Sports Rylan Stewart ’10 replied, more succinctly, “Yup.” Cullen then asked if the other senators felt the students at the retreat represented the concerns of the student body as a whole. Kagan said that although he did not know the portion of the population supportive of the Stand With Staff campaign, he felt this constituency may have had a disproportionate representation.

The Great Coop Arcade Debate: Part Two

Following further lengthy and incredibly productive discussion, Stewart hacked and coughed and Commissioner of Environmental Affairs Joanna Ladd ’10 asked if he would like her to cover it for him. He said, “Yup.” Ladd said that, as a follow up to the Great Coop Arcade Debate, she had posted on Chirps and was waiting for the results from a survey. Cullen said she should put up a giant poster in the Coop Fountain, preferably one with sweet holographic effects and mind-bending illusions.

Non-Vegans Get Shafted

Hartung then returned to the potential changes to the bylaws on the Committee on Campus Climate and Diversity she had presented last week. According to her changes, the committee would consist of, among others, representatives from “identity-based” organizations. Gebru asked if this could be made more specific. Hartung said she had intended to include “support groups,” but found that practically every group, including the Cheese Club, considered themselves to support a certain portion of the Pomona population. However, as Gebru pointed out, if you are what you eat, cheese is an integral element of the identity of the underrepresented non-vegan subclass. Ultimately, the senate unanimously approved the amendment.

Money: It’s a Drag

Having remained dormant for nearly a month, the potential publication of ASPC’s budget returned to the table. Vice President for Finance Kelly Schwartz ’10 moved to reopen the issue. Some senators expressed concern that this transparency would bring criticism from certain clubs if they compared the money they received to the money received by similar clubs. To prevent this from happening, they decided to provide a person to contact alongside the budget and an introduction letting the plebs know that ASPC’s process of distributing funds is far too complex for them to ever understand. Stewart asked what would be done if a club did not want to disclose the information regarding the funds it received from ASPC. Hartung, however, said the option to remain un-publicized will remove the incentive for clubs to publicize their information. Ultimately, everyone but Stewart voted to approve the effort—the specific language of the paper will be voted on in the future.


Commissioner of Communications Than Volk ’10 then moved to add information about the Student Activities Committee to the bylaws—that is, he copied information from the student handbook into the bylaws. Volk said he and Associate Dean of Students Neil Gerard had thought the bylaws contained far too little information on the committee. Before discussion began, Schwartz explained to the senators that the committee discusses campus policies on alcohol and drugs and makes changes to the student handbook. North Campus Representative Stephanie Almeida ’11, however, established the real issue of the bylaw as its assertion that either the north campus or the south campus representative participate in the committee. In other words, they play “rock, paper, scissors” to choose who goes. With perhaps the most insightful words of the day, Hartung said, “Can we table this because it’s not going anywhere?” And they did.

Paint Can Blow Up

Almeida then said that last year ASPC had decided to provide free paint for students to paint Walker Wall, but had not set up a system to distribute the paint. Almeida identified three main issues: transporting the paint from the store to the school, storing the paint, and paying for the paint. Almeida added that she thought it would be morally reprehensible for ASPC to interfere with the rights of students to paint their incredibly important messages on Walker Wall. Gerard pointed out that the paint needed to be kept in a fireproof container—rather than a hallway, as it was last year. Commissioner of Off-Campus Relations Hsuanwei Fan ’12 suggested keeping the paint at the ReCoop to tie sustainability efforts into the issue by encouraging students to reuse the paint. Kagan suggested that it be accessible through the RA desks, but advisor Ellie Ash said it would be unfair for the senate to decide to impose additional responsibility upon a group without their input. Fan then asked what the two RHS interns are supposed to do, and everyone realized the discussion had nothing to do with paint anymore, so they tabled the issue.

Not yet…

Everyone began packing up, even though the meeting had yet to adjourn, forcing Cullen to gavel the meeting to silence. This silence allowed Stewart to present a sports committee for the Senate’s approval. It consisted of eight Pomona students: four athletes, four non-athletes; four men, four women; four upperclassmen, four underclassmen. Everyone likes symmetry, and no one likes long meetings, so the senators unanimously approved the committee without any discussion. The meeting was adjourned at 6:26 p.m.

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